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Former employee of Danish Museum of Art and Design admits to theft

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Copenhagen (dpa) - A former employee of the Danish Museum of Art and Design was charged Wednesday with stealing some 100 items from the museum's collection between 1999 and 2002.

The stolen goods included jewellery, figurines and paintings are estimated to be worth some 1 million kroner (165,000 dollars).

A female friend helped him sell the stolen goods to auction houses in Germany, the U.S. and antique shops in Denmark, the court was told.

Police traced the man in December 2004 after the Hampel auction house in Munich, Germany recognised a stolen snuff tobacco tin the man's accomplice had tried to sell.

The woman's death in November last year complicated the investigation, detective Henrik Svindt told public broadcaster DR.

During Wednesday's proceedings the 42-year-old said the thefts were committed during a troubled period in his life.

He had learned that he was HIV positive around the time he started his employment at the museum, and shortly after his mother and sister died.

Among items stolen from the museum's archives were porcelain figurines, glass work, portraits, and a piece of jewellery for a 2,000-year-old Japanese kimono valued at 400,000 kroner (66,000 dollars).

The museum was founded in 1890 and stages special exhibitions as well as having permanent exhibits. Its collections include Danish and international decorative art and design.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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